Monday, June 4, 2012

Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

Two hours before boarding a plane from Libreville, Gabon to Nairobi, Kenya, I was gripped by my fear of flying. We stood with our Gabonese brothers and sisters in Christ, and circled around holding hands. Everyone took turns praying for our family and thanking God for our time together.  Prayers were in English and French (the language of Gabon), and although I did not understand all of the prayers for our family, Christ filled me with a deep sense of peace through them.  I am scared of flying and felt helpless as I headed towards the next chapter of our journey.  Their prayers that day brought me peace and help in my time of need.  I cried with them and felt their hearts and their amazing faith, even when I could not understand their words.  They were there for me in my time of need and it was an experience I will never forget.
This is the image that was in my mind during the Justice Conference that I attended this past weekend in Bend, Oregon. One of the themes that was woven throughout the conference was walking humbly with God in all that we do. Micah 6:8 says:
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Stephen Bauman, incoming CEO of World Relief spoke on this topic and the deep humility that we need as Westerners as we enter into other cultures.  We often focus on justice and mercy, but forget humility.  He talked about how important it is to accept help and gifts when we are in other cultures. Openly expressing our own needs levels the playing field for everyone. It gives Nationals more dignity and significance, seeing that we believe we are all equally created in the image of God, and we all need help.  When we enter with our own needs – others can help us – and this changes our mindset.  We see partnership and relationship, instead of  believing we are there to “help” them.  It is a change in thinking that we all need, whether we are serving internationally or in our own communities.  We need to look for practical ways that we can genuinely seek help – we can ask them to pray for us, teach us, help us, etc.  This is exactly the experience that I had in Gabon and I know my Gabonese friends knew their prayers were supporting me during that time.
This is the first of a couple of posts that I will write regarding the Justice Conference that I attended in Bend, OR this past weekend.   I am still processing all that I heard and look forward to sharing more about my experience and what God taught me during this time.  There were several organizations present that Eric and I have been involved with in the past, and it was great to meet leaders from each of these  - International Princess Project, International Justice Mission and Trade As One.  The conference was hosted by World Relief and they did an awesome job. I am so thankful that I made it on the plane.  God showed up for me by surrounding me with people that I had connected with from the conference on my flights – for whatever reason, I felt safer knowing that Lynne Hybels from Willow Creek was seated behind me.  Surely God still needed her here on earth to do his work : )

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